Genetic resources of local plants, animals alarmingly decline

A recent report by the Vietnam Environment Administration showed that forest cover in the South has reduced drastically from 39.7 percent in 2016 to 33 percent in 2018.

In addition, the decline of indigenous plant and domestic animal genetic resource is alarming with 80 percent of plant varieties having lost and 10 percent of domesticated animal breeds decreasing annually.

Accordingly, last year, the area of forests in 32 southern provinces was 5.69 million hectares, of which, the area of natural forest was 4.1 million hectares and the area of forest plantations was 1.59 million hectares. Forest cover was 33 percent. Meanwhile, in 2016, total area of forests in 32 southern provinces was more than 5.7 million hectares with more than 4.11 million hectares of natural forests, 1.77 million hectares of forest plantations and forest cover of 39.7 percent.

In order to uphold genetic resources, Vietnamese scientists have conserved and stored more than 14,000 genetic resources of more than 200 species of food crops, fruit trees, forest trees, medicinal plants and other plants. At the same time, they also have preserved and stored 25 swine breeds, of which 15 are indigenous ones; 24 bovine breeds, of which seven are local ones; 40 chicken breeds, of which 17 are native ones; and three buffalo breeds, of which two are aboriginal ones. In addition, they have collected thousands of flora and fauna species, of which 26 are rare species which are on the verge of distinction, conserved and stored 70 endangered domestic animal and poultry species. 

As for ex-situ conservation, there have been 28,028 genetic resources of agricultural plants being preserved. Eventually, they have selected genetic resources of 30 indigenous rice varieties, five vegetable species, three taro species and two native flower species. Up to now, 80 percent of preserved genetic resources of domestic animals have been evaluated. 

However, the decline of genetic resources of indigenous plants and animal is alarming with 80 percent of plant species having lost and nearly 10 percent of domestic animal breeds decreasing annually. The current loss in genetic resources in Vietnam is partly because of the replacement of low-yielding (indigenous) varieties by high-yielding ones from developed countries.

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